• 21 Oct 2011 - Obama announces total U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Iraq by end of 2011
Peace and Reconciliation Movement
In late spring of 2007, concerned citizens in Fort Collins, Colorado were getting fed up with the Iraq War debacle. It was a catastrophe of huge proportions. Many of us found our voices being heard in our local coalition, CJPE - Center for Justice, Peace, and Environment. Many citizens across our country were also speaking out against this unjust war. My video clip epitomizes the many peace efforts occurring in towns across America.
At a Fort Collins City Council meeting on June 5, 2007, citizens and Monte Barry speak to the Fort Collins City Council, Mayor, City Manager, and the citizens of Fort Collins. We citizens were speaking during the Public Participation comment period.
This recording was ingested live by my friend directly from his Cable TV system's converter box. These signals fed into his Analog-to-Digital converter box, which fed into his computer's USB port. It wound up getting recorded single-channel audio, right-channel only. The left-channel audio was missing. There's a buzzing-type hum sound on the empty left channel. My bad. Sorry about that. Hopefully I will have time later to come back and replace this file with one that is repaired.
Reality Check for PEACE
This war is based on LIES!
"Can you 'hear' me now?"
I was speaking out using my own words. You may consider me to be an Internet Archive hippie-pseudo-digital-archivist and music taper. That's how I see it. Monte is seen speaking in this clip at 14:05.
progressive peace activist
12 October 2010
The Downing Street Memo is now in the public record.
Published by The Sunday Times on May 1, 2005
The secret Downing Street memo
How Bush Began the Iraq Invasion Before He Went to Congress or the UN
Published on Thursday, June 2, 2005 by The Nation
by Jeremy Scahill
The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun
"It was a huge air assault: Approximately 100 US and British planes flew from Kuwait into Iraqi airspace. At least seven types of aircraft were part of this massive operation, including US F-15 Strike Eagles and Royal Air Force Tornado ground-attack planes. They dropped precision-guided munitions on Saddam Hussein's major western air-defense facility, clearing the path for Special Forces helicopters that lay in wait in Jordan. Earlier attacks had been carried out against Iraqi command and control centers, radar detection systems, Revolutionary Guard units, communication centers and mobile air-defense systems. The Pentagon's goal was clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist. This was war.
But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002 -- a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began.
At the time, the Bush Administration publicly played down the extent of the air strikes, claiming the United States was just defending the so-called no-fly zones. But new information that has come out in response to the Downing Street memo reveals that, by this time, the war was already a foregone conclusion and attacks were no less than the undeclared beginning of the invasion of Iraq.
The Sunday Times of London recently reported on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war." The paper cites newly released statistics from the British Defense Ministry showing that "the Allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001" and that "a full air offensive" was under way months before the invasion had officially begun.
The implications of this information for US lawmakers are profound. It was already well known in Washington and international diplomatic circles that the real aim of the US attacks in the no-fly zones was not to protect Shiites and Kurds. But the new disclosures prove that while Congress debated whether to grant Bush the authority to go to war, while Hans Blix had his UN weapons-inspection teams scrutinizing Iraq and while international diplomats scurried to broker an eleventh-hour peace deal, the Bush Administration was already in full combat mode--not just building the dossier of manipulated intelligence, as the Downing Street memo demonstrated, but acting on it by beginning the war itself. And according to the Sunday Times article, the Administration even hoped the attacks would push Saddam into a response that could be used to justify a war the Administration was struggling to sell.
On the eve of the official invasion, on March 8, 2003, Bush said in his national radio address: "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force." Bush said this after nearly a year of systematic, aggressive bombings of Iraq, during which Iraq was already being disarmed by force, in preparation for the invasion to come. By the Pentagon's own admission, it carried out seventy-eight individual, offensive airstrikes against Iraq in 2002 alone."
The "official" U.S. military-led invasion of Iraq began in March, 2003. It was dubbed, "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in a military campaign that was launched to topple Saddam Hussein.
8 years later:
50,000 U. S. troops remain in Iraq
List of United States Army installations in Iraq - 20 bases
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - engineers built the largest embassy on earth
tracking U.S. Military Casualties in Iraq
More than 4,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed
More than 30,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded
Iraq War deaths explanation - and The Lancet study
Published on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 by The Nation
by Jeremy Scahill
Is Blackwater's Erik Prince Moving to the United Arab Emirates?
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world's most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince's top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince's longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince's former legal counsel Andrew Howell.
The Blackwater/Erik Prince saga took yet another dramatic turn last week, when Prince abruptly announced that he was putting his company up for sale.
While Prince has not personally been charged with any crimes, federal investigators and several Congressional committees clearly have his company and inner circle in their sights. The Nation learned of Prince's alleged plans to move to the UAE from three separate sources. One Blackwater source told The Nation that Prince intends to sell his company quickly, saying the "sale is going to be a fast move within a couple of months."
By MARK MAZZETTI and EMILY B. HAGER
Published: May 14, 2011
Erik Prince - Blackwater’s Founder - Sets Up Secret Desert Force in The UAE
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.
The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.
Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.
The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.
The U.A.E.’s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country’s biggest foe, the former employees said. The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, according to the former employees and American officials.
In outsourcing critical parts of their defense to mercenaries — the soldiers of choice for medieval kings, Italian Renaissance dukes and African dictators — the Emiratis have begun a new era in the boom in wartime contracting that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And by relying on a force largely created by Americans, they have introduced a volatile element in an already combustible region where the United States is widely viewed with suspicion.
The United Arab Emirates — an autocracy with the sheen of a progressive, modern state — are closely allied with the United States, and American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.
“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.” Read the complete story on the NY Times web site.
by Spencer Ackerman for Wired dot com
published May 4, 2011
Blackwater’s New Ethics Chief: John Ashcroft
The consortium in charge of restructuring the world’s most infamous private-security firm just added a new chief in charge of keeping the company on the straight and narrow. Yes, John Ashcroft, the former U.S. attorney general, is now an “independent director” of Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater.
Ashcroft will head Xe’s new “subcommittee on governance,” its backers announced early Wednesday in a statement. The subcommittee is designed to “maximize governance, compliance and accountability” and “promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private-security industry.”
In other words, no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in war zones, no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry, and no more ‘roids and coke on the job.
Ashcroft’s arrival at Xe is yet another clear signal it’s not giving up the quest for lucrative government security contracts now that it’s no longer owned by founder Erik Prince, even as it emphasizes the side of its business that trains law enforcement officers. In September, it won part of a $10 billion State Department contract to protect diplomats, starting with the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.
Ashcroft, a U.S. senator before becoming attorney general in the Bush administration, is a very known quantity to the federal officials that Xe will pitch. Even if he’s not lobbying for Blackwater, Ashcroft’s addition on the board is meant to inspire confidence in government officials of its newfound rectitude.
To some, Ashcroft will be forever known as the face of Bush-era counterterrorism: the official who vigorously defended the Patriot Act’s sweeping surveillance powers; told civil libertarians that their dissents “only aid terrorists,” and covered up the Spirit of Justice’s boob. At the same time, when Ashcroft was critically ill in 2005, he resisted a White House mission to his hospital bed entreating him to reauthorize warrantless surveillance in defiance of the acting attorney general.
“This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers,” Ashcroft said in a statement. “I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward,” referring to U.S. Training Center, another of Blackwater’s many names. Like scores of other senior security officials, Ashcroft has spent his post-government career running a Washington consulting firm.
Xe is still sorting out its leadership and searching for a permanent CEO. For now, the investor team that bought the company in December assembled and empowered a board of directors to run the shop along with the existing management. That board includes former National Security Agency director Bobby Ray Inman. Its chairman is Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs.
Ashcroft and his new subcommittee will report to the board. “With the formation of this subcommittee, and with Ashcroft as its chair,” the firm says in the statement, “USTC aims to set the bar for industry standards against which all other companies will be measured.”
Iraq Veterans Against The War
BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW!
MonteVideo Grafix is the Web Administrator for this item.
Benchmark American Journalism and BroadcastingStrength
Bill Moyers Journal
Democracy Now! news hour
Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill
Investigative Journalist and Author
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
Professor Andrew J. Bacevich
Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University
Bill Moyers Interviews Andrew Bacevich - August 15, 2008
Amy Goodman Interviews Andrew Bacevich - August 20, 2008
The Limits of Power: Andrew Bacevich on the End of American ExceptionalismAMY GOODMAN: Andrew Bacevich is a conservative historian who spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army. He also lost his son in Iraq last year. In a new book titled The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Bacevich argues that although many in this country are paying a heavy price for US domestic and foreign policy decisions, millions of Americans simply continue to shop, spend and satisfy their appetite for cheap oil, credit and the promise of freedom at home. Bacevich writes, "As the American appetite for freedom has grown, so too has our penchant for empire."
Our next guest is Andrew Bacevich. He’s a conservative historian. He spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army. He also lost his son in Iraq. Andrew Bacevich writes, “In joining the Army, my son was following in his father’s footsteps: Before he was born, I had served in Vietnam. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time.”
Andrew Bacevich holds both parties accountable for the Iraq war. As he writes, “To be fair, responsibility for the war’s continuation now rests no less with the Democrats who control Congress than with the president and his party. After my son’s death, my state’s senators, Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, telephoned to express their condolences. Stephen F. Lynch, our congressman, attended my son’s wake. Kerry was present for the funeral Mass. My family and I greatly appreciated such gestures. But when I suggested to each of them the necessity of ending the war, I got the brushoff.” Bacevich goes on to write, “To whom do Kennedy, Kerry and Lynch listen? We know the answer: to the same people who have the ear of George W. Bush and Karl Rove — namely, wealthy individuals and institutions.”
Andrew Bacevich has just published a new book. It’s called The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. He joins me here in the firehouse studio.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Professor Bacevich.
ANDREW BACEVICH: Thank you very much for having me.
AMY GOODMAN: How hard was it to write this book after your son’s death? This is not theoretical for you.
ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I try not to talk about my son’s death, because it’s a private matter, and to tell you the truth, I don’t want to do anything that even looks like it might be exploiting his memory. I would say that I imagine that some of the energy that informed the writing a book came from the emotional response to my son’s death. But the content, the critique, is unrelated to that tragedy.
The content of the book very much reflects my dismay at the direction of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. There’s a lot in the book that tries to hold the Bush administration accountable for recent events, but I would not for a second want to suggest that the crisis in which we find ourselves today ought to be laid simply at the foot of the Bush administration or the Republican Party, because it’s been a long time coming... Amy Goodman's interview with Andrew Bacevich continuedDemocracy Now! news hour interview on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz
AMY GOODMAN: As the Obama administration rejects a foreclosure moratorium and austerity protests grip Europe, we assess the state of the US and global economy with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, author of Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. Stiglitz backs calls for a foreclosure moratorium and says opponents of a new government stimulus "don’t understand basic economics." On war, Stiglitz says Iraq and Afghanistan are "the first wars in America’s history financed totally on the credit card."
Let me ask you how war fits into this. I mean, you co-wrote the book with Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War. How does war fit into our problems with the economy?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, war fits in because you’re creating a liability, you’re spending money. And when we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we already had a deficit. And so, these wars were the first wars in America’s history financed totally on the credit card. So, you’re creating a liability, but you’re not creating an asset. So that’s the kind of spending that does weaken the economy, because it’s one-sided. Now, we came out just a couple weeks with new numbers that unfortunately show that our old numbers were a little wrong, in the sense that they were too conservative.
AMY GOODMAN: Three trillion dollars.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Was too little. And particularly what we looked at in a report — we testified before Congress — what we looked at was the large number of troops returning who are disabled. Turned out that the numbers returning disabled are higher than we had estimated. It’s close to 50 percent now. And the cost per disabled, injured troop is higher. So we had talked then about the cost of healthcare and disability payments for our returning troops in the order of maybe a little less than a half-a-trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money. Our new numbers are, best estimate, in excess of $900 billion. These are unfunded liabilities, a moral obligation — they fought for us — unfunded, totally unfunded. The good news is that they were trying to put together a coalition of people who believe in responsible budgeting, that said, "OK, if we’re going to send our troops overseas, we ought to at least put aside the money to pay for the full in costs. The full in costs include the costs of these disabled people.
AMY GOODMAN: So what you’re estimating the cost of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now at?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, well in excess of the $3 trillion. Before, the numbers that we said were actually three to five trillion. That doesn’t sound as catchy a title as—"The Three to Five Trillion Dollar War." The numbers now are much more like four to six trillion. And —
AMY GOODMAN: And yet, across this country, as the debates over — you know, for various congressional and Senate seats, for any seat, whether you’re talking about a state one, as well, war is almost never raised.
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah, I don’t understand that, because what should be so clear is that we have a limited amount of resources. And the critics who say we have to worry about the debt are right in emphasizing the economics of scarcity, that we have a limited amount of resources. But the issue isn’t whether to cut back; the issue is how we spend our money, because cutting back would weaken the economy, but reallocating our money, more money for those who are unemployed — remember, we have one of the worst systems of social protection, unemployment insurance, of the advanced industrial countries. We are a whole group of people called the ninety-niners, who have come to the end of their unemployment benefits and are being, you know, left to fend for themselves. So, what we really need to do is to rethink how we spend the money, make sure that we spend the money in a way that will energize our economy. Spending money in Afghanistan, paying money for contractors, are not the way to energize our economy and make our economy strong, competitive for the long run... Amy Goodman's interview with Joseph Stiglitz continued
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